In the battle between my crushing social anxiety and my compulsion for geolocation gaming, thankfully, my need to check off gamified boxes always wins. Occasionally I'm faced with a challenge that requires *gasp* human interaction. Usually it's something along the lines of entering a business and engaging with an employee, asking them for a clue, or in the case with geocaching, a physical object. My anxiety is largely based on the fear that said stranger will have no idea of what I'm asking about and will become annoyed with the weird tourist spouting gibberish in front of them.
The silly thing is, at least in the times I've faced this situation, maybe that other person has been confused about what I’m asking for, but is never actually hostile. More often they're curious because, well come on, what we’re doing is super cool. It's then I become an evangelist for this adventure I'm on, spreading the gospel of geolocation gaming.
I recently went on a trip that took me through Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's a beautiful city with a long, rich history that rivals most U.S. east coast settlements. Further, it's a city that’s proud of its artists and public art is EVERYWHERE (a goldmine for Pokémon Go and Ingress players.) My hunt for area geocaches took me to one hidden in a historic hotel. After arriving I read the geocache description with a bit more attention and was mortified to learn that I’d have to speak with the front desk clerk to gain access to the logbook. I lingered in the lobby for about 20 minutes, pretending to stare at my phone and telling myself that I was just waiting for a break in guests talking at the front desk. I wasn’t. I was working up the courage to charge forward and ask about the geocache, hoping that when it came time, my question wouldn’t be a scream of, “YOU HAVE GEOCACHE?”
The concierge was perfectly lovely about the whole thing. She had no idea of what I was talking about but consulted with a coworker with longer tenure. “Oh yeah, that box with the journal in it. It’s over here.”
We got to talking about geolocation gaming and, as usual with that topic these days, Pokémon Go was the touchstone for the two hotel staffers. I explained how geocaching differed and how geolocation gaming in general is perfect for finding interesting places, particularly as you travel. And because I gotta pitch the brand, I dropped a mention of working for Traipse and how it’s specifically built to bring visitors to historic sites like that very hotel!
While games like geocaching make you feel like a secret agent seeking dead drops, what I love about Traipse is that it feels more out in the open. The app has a few locations where you have enter a business to find the answer to the location’s clue. With those it feels more like I’m on a scavenger hunt and less like I’m doing something that’ll get the bomb squad called. Thus, it’s far easier to chat with the staff, buy some stuff, and look around for the clue I need. I’m actually making a connection with the place and its people rather than skulking about, screwing up my courage to ask about a piece of tupperware.
Who knows, Traipse may soon come to Santa Fe! I can’t wait to go back to explore the city more, and if it means I get the geolocation gaming “finds” that I need, I’ll talk to as many concierges as necessary.